Beauty queen gives up crown to protest pageant skit mocking #MeToo movement
The #MeToo movement is an international crusade against sexual harassment and sexual assault. As more victims have gotten the courage to come forward, we've become increasingly aware - and horrified - by acts of abuse. Given the serious nature of the subject matter, you wouldn't expect #MeToo to be mocked in a comedy skit. But that's exactly what happened at a Miss Massachusetts pageant earlier this month.
During the show, a sketch was performed on stage that made fun of the Miss America's decision to scrap the swimsuit competition. "We are no longer a pageant," announced chairwoman Gretchen Carlson. "We will no longer judge candidates on their outward physical appearance. It’s going to be what comes out of their mouth that we’re interested in, when they talk about their social impact initiatives."
The Observer posted a video of the skit, which featured a woman kneeling onstage. She wailed, "Miss America did away with the swimsuit competition. We may have very well seen the last ever swimsuit competition on stage. It's very upsetting and I'm trying to understand, God, why it happened." "Me too, Amy," replied a man dressed as God, holding a #MeToo sign. The crowd reportedly laughed and cheered.
Standing backstage, contestant Maude Gorman couldn't see what was happening, but she could hear every word. Unlike the audience, she didn't find the sketch funny. Gorman told CNN that she was gang raped by three men when she was thirteen years old. For years afterward, she suffered from PTSD. To her, the skit was appalling.
"I instantly knew I had to do something," said Gorman. "It was going to eat away at me if I didn't. ... We were all shocked. We said, 'Oh my god. I cannot believe that just happened. Did that just really happen?'"
Last week Gorman resigned from her title as Miss Plymouth County 2018. On Instagram, she explained why in a heartfelt message:
"Today, I officially resigned from the title of Miss Plymouth County 2018. While I’m grateful for the opportunities that @missamerica creates for young women, I am also internally conflicted; as the #metoo movement was mocked on stage during the final competition of Miss Massachusetts.
As both a survivor, and advocate for victims rights and sexual violence on a whole, I refuse to stand idly by and simply “let this go”. Instead, I will stand up for every individual who has ever had the courage to speak out; and for every person who felt liberated by the #metoo movement. I will not allow ANYONE to take away that empowerment and liberation, or make it anything less than what it is: AMAZING."
"The Miss Massachusetts Board of Directors offers our sincere and heartfelt apology for those offended by Saturday night's skit. The skit was not in the script and was not authorized by the board. Moving forward, we will review all content with future emcees and other participants prior to our show to be sure offensive or potentially offensive content is not allowed."
Gorman told CNN she plans to make public appearances speaking out against sexual assault, but does not wish to return to beauty competitions. "I am done with pageants," said Gorman. "I don't see myself competing again. I am happy with leaving the pageant world behind me."